Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Putting an end to poverty

It was all fun and games for students at Katamatite Primary School recently, spending a morning bouncing footballs with Global Poverty Walk founder Matt Napier.

TONI BRIENT March 17, 2014 4:17am

Kicking poverty: Global Poverty Walk founder Matt Napier reinacted a smaller version of his Perth to Sydney football-bouncing trek with Katamatite Primary School students on Friday.


It was all fun and games for students at Katamatite Primary School recently, spending a morning bouncing footballs with Global Poverty Walk founder Matt Napier.

But there was a serious side to the activity.

Mr Napier and wife Wendy were re-enacting a smaller version of their trek across Australia last year.

The couple spent less than five months walking from Perth to Sydney.

But the journey of about 4400km was much shorter than the road ahead — the Napiers are raising awareness of global poverty in the hope it can be eradicated during the current generation.

Hosted by the Katamatite Lions Club, they spoke to school students during the day and addressed a community forum at the Katamatite Community Hub that night.

Teacher Gemma Whinray said she was impressed with the students’ interest in the issue.

She said they had a strong grasp on it by the end of the Napiers’ visit.

‘‘I think for a lot of them it was the first time they’d actually seen that sort of poverty,’’ Ms Whinray said.

‘‘It’s a bit hard to understand when you’re living in Katamatite.

‘‘I think this has opened their eyes to the ways the other half live.’’

She said the students were interested in all aspects of the Napiers’ work.

‘‘They were interested in the orphanage in Zimbabwe that they spoke about,’’ Ms Whinray said.

‘‘But just also the actual logistics of bouncing a footy all that way.

‘‘Especially the animals they saw along the way, where they went and how they knew how to get there.’’

Mr Napier said the number one question was about how many shoes and footies it took to get from Perth to Sydney, adding he wore out six pairs of shoes and five footballs on the journey.

He said he enjoyed spreading the message to different community groups, including schools, across the nation.

‘‘It’s important kids get an understanding of the greater world outside their own backyard,’’ he said.

‘‘We talk about the walk, what we’re doing, and what Australia’s doing as a country to alleviate global poverty.

‘‘That we probably need to do a lot more than what we are doing, and that we’ve come a long way in the last 20 years.

‘‘A lot of people don’t know that — we’ve actually halved it.’’

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